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Call The Midwife* Spoiler alert page 3*

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I have loved this series, I was nervous having loved the books, but it has been done very well, a few differences here and there but very much with the same warm feel. I am going to watch the last one whilst tackling the ironing today. I too am sad that it seems that Chummy was a fictional character, but I am sure that she must have been heavily based on a real person :D

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Only just watched it so have been avoiding this thread since yesterday evening.


Wasn't it lovely that the girl with the triplets also got her man?


And the Chummy bits were great - loved the final phone call with mater. Will Chummy be back in series two? Were married women allowed to carry on as midwives?

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I've just finished the book and I watched the last episode last night. I was also worried that the lady with the triplets was going to be left on her own so it was lovely to see her chap at the end.


I absolutely love Chummy, I thought her 'mater' was frightful and I'm so glad she stood up for herself in the end and I loved the last bit of the phone call and the naughty look on Chummy's face :lol:

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I loved it! Can't wait until the next series. I sort of guessed it was going to be twins, but not triplets! I'm slightly disappointed that the Chummy character was just that. I saw some interviews with Miranda about the role and I got the impression she was just like the real person :?

Well that's confused me because it was my understanding that "Chummy" was real and not fictitious :think:


She recalled, for example, a fellow midwife who went by the name of “Chummy” (real name: Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley -Browne) being sent aboard a Swedish cargo ship one stormy night to deliver a baby for the captain’s daughter, a 35-stone blonde called Kirsty, who thought she had a stomach upset.

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/books-obituaries/8671467/Jennifer-Worth.html


But the hunt continues to find her:

The Fortescue-Cholmeley-Brownes were top-drawer country types. Her great-great-grandfather had entered the Indian civil service in the 1820s, and the tradition had progressed through the generations. Her father was Governor of Rajasthan (an area the size of Wales), which he still, even in the 1950s, traversed on horseback.


All this we learned from the collection of photographs on display in Chummy’s room. She was the only girl amongst six brothers. All of them were tall, but unfortunately she was about an inch taller than the rest of the family.


All the children had been educated in England, the boys going to Eton, and Chummy to Roedean. Apparently Chummy had been at boarding school since she was six years of age, and knew no other life. She clung to her collection of family photographs with touching fervour – and particularly loved one taken with her mother when she was about 14.


“That was the holiday I had with Mater,” she said proudly, completely unaware of the pathos of her remark.


After Roedean came finishing school in Switzerland, then back to London to the Lucie Clayton Charm School to prepare her for presentation at court. Those were the days of debutantes, when the daughters of the “best” families had to “come out”, an expression meaning something quite different today. At that time it meant being presented formally to the monarch at Buckingham Palace.


Chummy was presented and two photographs were proof of the event. In the first, in a ridiculous lacy ballgown, with ribbons and flowers, Chummy stood amongst a group of pretty young girls similarly attired, her huge, bony shoulders towering above their heads.


The second photo was of her presentation to King George VI. Her size and shape emphasised the petite charm of the Queen and the exquisite beauty of the two princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret. I wondered if Chummy was aware of how absurd she looked in the photos, which she was so happy to display.


After the debutante bit came a year at a cordon bleu school. Chummy learned all the arts of the perfect hostess – the perfect hors d’oeuvre, the perfect pâté de foie gras – but remained ungainly, awkward, oversized, and generally unsuited to hostessing in any society. So a course of study at the best needlework school in London was deemed to be the right thing.


For two years Chummy crocheted, embroidered and tatted, made lace and quilting and broderie anglaise. For two years she machined and set shoulders and double hemmed. All to no avail. While the other girls herringboned and chatted happily, or sadly, of their boyfriends and lovers, Chummy, liked by all but loved by none, remained silent, always the odd chum out. She never knew how it happened, but suddenly, unsought, she found her vocation: nursing and God.


Chummy was going to be a missionary. In a fever pitch of excitement, she enrolled at the Nightingale School of Nursing at St Thomas’s Hospital in London. She was an instant success, and won the Nightingale Prize three years in succession. She adored the work on the wards, feeling for the first time in her life confident and competent. Patients loved her, senior staff respected her, junior staff admired her.


In spite of her great size she was gentle, with an intuitive understanding of patients, especially the very old, very sick, or dying. Even her clumsiness left her. On the wards she never dropped a thing or crashed into things. All these traits seemed to beset her only in social life, for which she remained wholly ill-adapted.


Of course, young doctors and medical students, 90 per cent of whom were male, made fun of her Freshmen were told of the ravishingly lovely nurse on North Ward, with whom it would be possible to fix a blind date, but fled in horror when the blindness was given sight.


Fortunately, such pranks passed straight over her head unnoticed. Had she been informed, it is likely she would not have understood, and would have beamed amiably at her tormentors, shaming them with her innocence.


Jennifer Worth’s daughters remember her in photographs and stories, but we don’t know her real name. So we scoured all three of Worth’s memoirs to find clues.


Worth tells us Chummy’s father was a Governor of Rajasthan, in northern India. However, records suggest that every Governor of Rajasthan has been Indian, not British. As the state was only formed in 1947, he may have been governor in a part of India that later formed Rajasthan, but tracking him down has proved difficult.


Another tantalising clue is the Nightingale Prize. Worth tells us that Chummy won it three times at St Thomas’s Hospital in London. We’ve contacted St Thomas’s, but they have no record of such a prize. The British Red Cross have awarded a Nightingale Medal to exceptional nurses since 1912, but they have never given it to the same nurse twice, let alone three times!


So the mystery deepens… unless you know more? If so, we’d love to hear from you.


Write to: feedback@radiotimes.com (subject line Chummy). The quest goes on

Source: http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2012-02-12/chummy-call-the-midwife's-elusive-star

Edited by Guest
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Bit late to this discussion but just finished catching up on iplayer.


Enjoyed this a lot I must read the books,I found it quite an emotional thing to watch particularly when they showed the outcome of the lady with eclampsia. Even though it was a number of years ago now I was very aware when I got pre-eclampsia that I was lucky care & testing is so much better than in the past but the portrayal was still a shocking reminder :shock: I'd got sufficiently ill that I couldn't carry a plastic carrier bag with a shirt in it (it was too heavy for me and I had to put it down) whereas normally I'm sturdy enough to take one end of a piano or boat.

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